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In that case, I can forget ever becoming immune. Even once a week is enough for me to start looking very hard at ways to protect myself better and prevent whatever's causing the bees to sting.
Just don't wear gloves you'll be immune in no time, I get stung once a month maybe now, even doing major manipulations. Helps to keep gentle bees, wearing suits you have no idea if they are gentle or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Just don't wear gloves you'll be immune in no time, I get stung once a month maybe now, even doing major manipulations. Helps to keep gentle bees, wearing suits you have no idea if they are gentle or not.
There might be times when I could inspect without gloves, but my gentle bees aren't always gentle. Suit or no suit, I can tell when they're in a mood because one or two bees will buzz around my head looking for a way under my veil, and they won't go away until I've left the area. It's obvious when they don't want me there. This happened a lot during the summer dearth, which was understandable since they're naturally protective of their stores during a dearth, but it's been happening again lately, even though a flow is on. After seeing them attack a wasp that was crawling around on the front of the hive and looking for a way in, I think they're hypervigilant about robbing. It's not a good time to press my luck. Maybe I can try going gloveless next spring when they're too happy and busy to notice me.
 

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My hives are never really that calm and I seem to notice a hum constantly, when the cover is off. I get stung through the suit or gloves almost every hive inspection. Smoke or no smoke, I seem to always get a sting. I seem to he reactive as well. I jump and it seems to startle me more than it should. With that said, I am not immune yet.
 

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. I jump and it seems to startle me more than it should.
I don’t care how many times you are stung, there are a few that will send you into a different state. My hands take the brunt of it with the backs of my arms second. A few days ago I got one between my knuckles, but on the inside of the hand. I had to step back a minute, and it swelled briefly like a yellow jacket (although I saw the bee/stinger).

Sometimes I’ll get 6-8 and brush them off like it’s nothing but the next one is in a different league. We’ve discussed here before the variables that go into it. If all mine were like the rough ones, and I had no choice but to take the same number, I’d probably rethinking this,... or at least gear up. 😜
 

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Agreed although this is not predictable. If they can get their doc to write one a script for an epipen in the bee yard in invaluable. I always have one around.
Epi pens used to be cheap and widely available. Last I checked they were $600 a pair in the USA.
 

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Epi pens used to be cheap and widely available. Last I checked they were $600 a pair in the USA.
The generics are a little over half that. ~$350

If you have insurance, check with them first. Had an odd situation last year with Epi pens. One time prescriptions (max two refills) are run through insurance just like always. Long term maintenance medications must be run through a third party mail service. Asked my allergy (pollen) Dr for the generic knowing it would likely be cheaper. They are and it was filled with IIRC a $10 copay. Weeks later got an email from mail script service stating they do not cover the generic. Second email asking me to have my doctor write a new prescription. Complied and received not just one, but two 2 packs in the mail. Six Epi pens for a small copay!

Kind of a waste since they expire after one year. Have read they are still good unless the fluid is no longer clear. Would not hesitate to use one on myself or a family member if needed.
 

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Wear some off, mosquitoes eat me up too.

OK, so we should consume more honey to ward off bee stings, I get that. I'm for that!

Now as for mosquitos, my advise is to eat more garlic. We've been garlic farmers since 1985, and while mosquitos still bug my wife some, they pretty much leave me alone.....due to heavy garlic consumption.

Faith is a powerful thing and I have faith in Bees, Honey and Garlic. :) ....oh....and Beer...;)
 

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I guess I am an anomaly. I have never been stung working hives ( I am just in my second year with 3 hives). I have been stung twice just standing 30 feet from the hives on the same day, inside my nose and right in the corner of my eye. Luckily I didn't have much swelling.
 

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I guess I am an anomaly. I have never been stung working hives ( I am just in my second year with 3 hives). I have been stung twice just standing 30 feet from the hives on the same day, inside my nose and right in the corner of my eye. Luckily I didn't have much swelling.
Jay Heselschwerdt, the East TN equiv of state apiarist here, posted earlier this year that he’d been stung 3-4x in the last 3 years (if memory serves). I think he inspects 500-1500 hives per year. So can it be done? Yes.

As for the home team here, I don’t remember which of you jokers said, “I crave venom” a few weeks back, but as I was pulling the first hum-finger out of my hand earlier, that was the first thing that ran through my mind. ... I’m not sure I crave it, that’s what I was thinking. :D
 

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I can say from personal experience that immunity to stings is a real thing. When I was about 3-4 years old my dog got into a bee tree while we were out hiking. I got stung, and started flailing and swatting, so I got stung a bunch more. By the time it was over, I had dozens of stings. It hurt, but nothing anaphylactic or anything.

fats forward 30 years to when I started keeping bees. The first sting I got was on my ankle. It blew up like a softball and took a couple of weeks to get back to normal. I responded by getting better at preventing stings, especially with protective gear. Over the next several years I averaged maybe one stung per year, but my reaction got worse each time. Eventually I was having severe itching on my palms, soles of my feet, scalp, and other hairy areas. Then I started also having tightness in my chest. I was pretty concerned and started thinking that maybe I was not cut out to keep bees.

after 9 or 10 years progressing like that and keeping one hive, I caught the swarm trapping and swarm chasing bug. Suddenly I had 10 hives or more and was getting stung much more often. Then last spring (2020), while collecting a swarm high overhead, I got nailed right in the middle of my upper lip, which swelled up like a duck bill.

Nose Cheek Sky Lip Chin


Of course, you don’t know what I normally look like, but trust me, I am much more beautiful than this photo.

however, I can still point to this exact moment as the time when I achieved immunity. Within an hour or two, the swelling had already mostly gone, and I didn’t have any of the itching or tightness in my chest. from this point on, I have never had those adverse symptoms again. It still hurts, but I don’t swell (sometimes a little swelling if it’s on my face) or have any reason to think that beekeeping is too dangerous for me. Now, I am much less careful about my protective gear, so I get stung even more. I’d say that I average one staying per day through much of the spring summer season.

I was worried that the immunity might wear off over winter, but that has not been the case.

so for me, I hit immunity after 1 sting per year for 10 years, then maybe 10 stings within maybe 2 months.

If your body doesn’t kill itself with anaphylaxis, you will eventually become immune to bee stings.
 

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“I crave venom” …
I don’t crave venom. I definitely avoid it. In fact, I still flinch every time I get stung. I’m trying to get that under control.

However, I can say that I find the smell of venom pheromone very pleasant - even better than propolis. Unfortunately, that’s a smell that comes at a painful cost and lasts but an instant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Then last spring (2020), while collecting a swarm high overhead, I got nailed right in the middle of my upper lip, which swelled up like a duck bill.

Of course, you don’t know what I normally look like, but trust me, I am much more beautiful than this photo.
HOLY SMOKE! At least it was worth it to get that last little bit of venom you needed for immunity! My bees recently found a way under my veil and stung me on my jaw and upper lip. I looked like the Elephant Man for a few days. Now I wear a long scarf over my head and shoulders with my bee hat on top of that. I really need to get one of those extra long veils.
 
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